Gratitude Journal – Post 12

Ok, the interview yesterday went better than expected and it was exactly what I thought it was, the HR Manager knew me. I think that’s why they invited me to interview for the position. That said, they actually took time during the interview to understand how my work experience could be a good fit for the role. Other interviews I’ve had up until now have felt like they are purposely trying to disqualify me, which likely means that it is a contract renewal. This seems like a legitimate position, and I really got the feeling that they were honestly considering me for the role.

So, I’m very grateful for that. Even if I’m not successful, being taken seriously has been a big confidence booster.

In terms of the role itself, it’s billed as a full-time role but is actually a contract position. They legitimately want to have someone apply business process methodologies to their operational processes and look for efficiencies, but they’ve rightfully recognised that the work for this role will be front loaded. Once the initial push is over, there likely won’t be enough work to sustain the position full time, which is why they want to transition the person into a To Be Determined role at the end of the first 2 years. And that’s why they were looking for specific qualifications in the job description which weren’t germane to the role’s responsibilities. They want to give themselves options in placing the incumbent.

That said, I’ll be out in space again. I’ve been here before. There will be two factors in play at the end of the two-year rotation. Performance and available positions. If one or both of those two things are not optimal then I’ll be made redundant. The cost of the redundancy will be quite low given the small amount of time I’ll have been with company, and it’ll likely be a lower amount than the annual bonus amount. In other words, there won’t be a disincentive to entertain the redundancy option.

I’m okay with having to look for something else in two years time. As long as I’m aware that this is a potential outcome, I can accommodate accordingly. I seem to be favouring a more transient career, so this will fit in quite nicely.

Anyway, let’s see how this progresses. I’d rather not put the cart before the horse.



American Hustle (2013) – Movie Review

This may be a case where heightened expectations play a factor, but I found American Hustle disappointing. The narrative feels kind of obtuse/unfocused/sloppy…pick a word. It just seems disoriented, and not in a deliberate, effective way. So a lot of flash and interesting shots, but not a very sharp-feeling overall effect.

The Good – Christian Bale. Amy Adams. Christian Bale. Nice 70s aesthetic in the look, feel and sound of the film. Christian Bale. This is the first time that I have truly enjoyed Jeremy Renner in a film (I still do not buy into the “star hype” with him, but this is a good, affecting performance). The humor, while spotty, comes through very well here and there. Did I mention that Christian Bale is superb in this? Man.

The Not So Good – The combination of directing, writing, scoring and editing muddies the narrative unnecessarily. This film could have been better if those aforementioned things had been conducted more sharply and cohesively in concert with each other. But hey, maybe the way it is is absolutely intentional on David Russell’s part. If so, then it is just not to my tastes. I found Bradley Cooper’s character to be unremarkable and lacking in genuine punch, and Jennifer Lawrence’s performance to be awkward and unconvincing for the most part.

The Takeaway – This film is okay. But the trailer had me expecting something dazzling, something great. Make no mistake, there is some serious spark from Bale and Adams, and a heavy dose of 70s aesthetic. But more than anything else, this is a lesson in how you cannot always trust the hype machine to deliver on its buildup (or other reviewers, for that matter).

6 out of 10 stars



Rasa – Toronto

Global-inspired snacks & entrees in a sleek, dark space from food-truck mavens The Food Dudes.
Address: 196 Robert St, Toronto, ON M5S 2K8



Google reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars. I’d actually rate it higher than this. Eating here was definitely one of the top two food experiences of my life. 4.9 is a better rating.


Gratitude Journal – Post 11

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

Ok, I forgot that I placed the above quote in my journal for use the next time I updated it. I honestly don’t feel like thinking about present blessings because I’ve been kicked around of late, but maybe that’s the point. Forcing me to focus on the positive will help me stop dwelling on the negative. I admit that I do have a tendency to lend a little too much weight to the empty portion of the glass.

It’s a little like stopping to take a photograph as a way to be present in the moment.

Er ok, I think that one is a little half baked, so we’ll have to come back to it once I’ve thought it through a little more. In the meantime:

I’m grateful for the upcoming interview tomorrow. Honestly, I applied for the position as a bit of a lark without really expecting much. I have some of what they are looking for, but I’m missing a few key components. In any case, they’ve likely called me in because there is an aspect of my experience that they like and/or someone over there knows me or this is a work permit renewal and they are just ticking the box for immigration purposes. No matter, I’m going to treat this as an opportunity to sell myself and to sharpen my interviewing skills.

I’m grateful that the salesperson directed me towards the open box option when buying my camera. It’s not overly expensive, however it did save me $200 for essentially the same brand new product, and I can use that money for other things like the inevitable purchase of accessories (of which there are many) or the next step camera once I become a bit more experienced.

Is that it for now? Can I add a favourable exchange rate as a present blessing? I think so, yes. Free money is always a blessing, especially given that I have a few financial challenged coming up.





The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) – Movie Review

Anyone expecting Ben Stiller to recycle the two principal intertexts for this story – the James Thurber story or the classic Danny Kaye comedy from 1947 – is likely to be highly disappointed. Superficially the plot remains the same, with Stiller playing a put-upon employee of LIFE magazine who is bullied by the new boss Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott), but eventually discovers himself as a result of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to find elusive photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn), who possesses an elusive negative needed for the final print copy of the magazine. Needless to say everything ends happily, with Mitty discovering to his delight that the photograph celebrates the work of all LIFE’s employees – journalists, printers, editors, photo-staff – who made the magazine such an American institution. He also manages to convince the love of his life, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) of the sincerity of his intentions. At heart, however, WALTER MITTY is a story of the importance of discovering yourself, even if the odds seem stacked against you. Walter learns to follow his inclinations, and by doing so fulfills his mother Edna’s (Shirley MacLaine’s) aspirations for him. Stiller gives a delightful performance, his character gradually changing from one of wide-eyed stoicism (which provokes him to daydream) into a person of quiet strength, who is not frightened of confronting Hendricks and telling the boss exactly what he thinks. At another level WALTER MITTY can be seen as an elegy for LIFE magazine, that bastion of American journalism, which has now become an online-only journal due to falling sales and changing reader preferences. The film uses archive material to show how it chronicled all the major events and personalities of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and how its staff (for the most part) were dedicated to their work. It’s the kind of magazine that doesn’t deserve to be taken over by superficial ignoramuses such as Hendricks, whose principal concern is for profitability rather than journalistic integrity.


10 out of 10 stars


Momofuku Shoto – Toronto

Set in the glass Momofuku-plex, this Asian hot spot offers seasonal tasting & multicourse menus.

Address: Third Floor, 190 University Avenue, Toronto, ON M5H 0A3


Google reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars


This part of the restaurant is now closed for renovations and it’ll open later this year, or to use their words, “The Momofuku team is excited to share that we will be renovating the third floor of Momofuku Toronto in early 2018 in order to launch a new concept and layout for the space,”.

I was honestly disappointed to see it go because it was one of my favourite restaurants, however at the same time I’m excited to see what they’re going to do with the space. There’s no questions that I’ll be first in line to check it out.

And on that note, I think the Google reviews rating is too low for this restaurant. I’d give it a 5 out of 5 stars.





The Counselor (2013) – Movie Review

A woman having sex with a car. A guy shaking a decapitated head out of a motorcycle helmet. A man getting killed by an automatic strangling device. All this and more in ‘The Counselor’, an over-the-top movie about a lawyer getting involved in a shady drugs deal that inevitably goes terribly wrong.

Apart from these extreme scenes, the cast is the main attraction of the movie. Top notch Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem and Cameron Diaz are playing weird characters. They are all living in a world full of beautiful people, driving expensive cars and living in design interiors.

Add to this some dialogues full of absurd wisecracks like ‘The truth has no temperature’, and you get a film that could be great. With these ingredients, ‘The Counselor’ could have been an ultra cool film, something like a crossing between Tarantino and the Coen Brothers.

But somehow, it all doesn’t add up. For one thing, the plot is never completely clear. I tried to connect the dots, but I didn’t succeed. This is not in all cases a problem. In a film like ‘Syriana’ the plot was also hazy, but this didn’t bother me. As long as you go along with the general mood of a film, it’s not a problem when some elements are not spelled out. But in this case, too much is left unexplained.

And then there is the dialogue. There is a lot of it. Some of it is witty and sharp. Unfortunately, there are also lengthy monologues full of heavy philosophical thoughts, which are completely unbelievable and not helping the film in any way. Writer Cormac McCarthy failed in this respect. This film has some fine moments, but it is unbalanced and doesn’t reach its full potential.


6 out of 10 stars